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South Australian Burke Relief Expedition, 1861-2

John McKinlay used four camels on the South Australian Burke Relief Expedition. Two of these beasts were the ones that had turned up on Dr Brown's Station in South Australia and were supposedly two of the three camels that Wills and McDonough lost near the Doonmulla Waterhole on 29 or 30 November 1860. The Exploration Committee decided the camels would be placed at the disposal of the South Australian government for use on McKinlay's expedition.

The South Australian government applied to the Exploration Committee for four camels. At a meeting of the Exploration Committee, held on 5 August 1861, it was decided that two or three camels of the six camels left behind at Royal Park. Initially the Exploration Committee intended sending three camels and on 5 August 1861 Charles Whybrow Ligar, Chairman of the Exploration Committee, instructed the Government storekeeper to prepare three beasts and five saddles and bridles for shipment to Adelaide. On the morning the camels were due to depart, Dr David Wilkie, Honorary Treasurer of the Exploration Committee, sent a memo stating just two camels and four saddles and bridles were needed.

The two camels were shipped to to Adelaide on the SS Oscar, accompanied by Dr Wills and Joseph Scott, the Royal Park ranger (who Wills reported suffered terribly with sea-sickness on the voyage). Scott was paid £5 for ten days' wages. The camels departed from the Railway Pier at Sandridge at 2.00pm on Tuesday, 6 August 1861 and landed at Port Adelaide on Friday, 9 August.

McKinlay left Adelaide with the camels by rail for Kapunda on the 15 or 16 August 1861.

Two of the four camels were eaten and two were turned loose.

1. Siva The most vicious camel. Eaten at Camp 46 on the Bowen River on 30 July 1862.
2. Mr Cassim also called Coppin Turned loose on the Burdekin River on 10 July 1862.
3. Krishna, also called The Old Woman Turned loose at Camp 9 on the Gilbert River on 3 June 1862.
4. Nano also called Naroo Eaten at Camp 19 on 16 June 1862.

The Star (Ballarat)
Monday 16 September 1861 p.2.

A letter has been received in Adelaide from Mr Hodgkinson, in which that gentleman states:

I was very nearly settled the other evening by the savage camel. He got me down, and would have trampled me to death had not McKinlay dragged me from under him. He struck me in the face, ribs, and back; but beyond a slight pain in the side, I have not experienced any evil effects.

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